CIty of Refuge wants to cut violence in Oak Park

City of Refuge in Sacramento stopping violence through intervention

And as city leaders speak out about helping young people in the community, there are programs that are already making a difference like Oak Park's City of Refuge.

This nonprofit aims to stop violence through intervention. On Tuesday, the City of Refuge launched a new program called "The Grit Academy" where chosen young men, from all walks of life, are defying social norms in Oark Park.

"Being a young African American man or a young Latino man if your not reppin' for your hood or color, you aren't part of your neighborhood or representing who you are well enough," City of Refuge Co-founder Loren Ditmore said.

He said the Grit Academy is about fighting for who they are.

"Grit just means the ability to preserve through hard stuff what we are trying to do is teach young men to be the best versions of themselves," Ditmore said.

The program enriches young men through fitness, career experience and mentoring. One of the mentors is Lyle Giles, who was raised in Oak Park and now helps young men stay on track.

"I am like a fatherly figure to them, some even call me dad and I am not their parent, I can only imagine what they feel, I have compassion for them for those that don't have a father figure or a family figure in their lives," Giles said.

Giles and his wife live, work and volunteer in Oak Park. He said he promotes fitness and sports for youth and never moved because he wants to be the change his community needs during a times when violence is on the rise.

"Change is going to come, will it come right away? Not right away but I know it is going to come and I believe that for this community but things like this right here I believe it will decrease the violence that is going on," Giles said.

If you're interested in learning more about the City of Refuge visit their website.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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